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Posts tagged ‘Jehovah Witnesses’

Good or bad preacher

Ups and downs

Everybody in the world has his or her ups and downs, good and bad days. A pastor, minister or a person of God is not exempt from the problems of this earth, the illnesses nor bad feelings.

As human being we like to compare ourselves to others and also often want to know what others think of us. Many of us want a big following and lots of friends. But would that big amount of friends be a good sign or mean that we are on the right track?

Those who are willing to bring forwards the Word of God also would like to have enough people who listen at them. Who would not like a lot of people listening to what you have to tell? A preacher is no different and is nothing without people listening. And we do agree we are just as human like any body else and would love to have some feedback and see that people enjoy what we have to offer to them.

Personal gain

Those teaching or in the “preaching sector” being in it for the money, have chosen the wrong profession. Though we do agree we can see several mega churches which seem to flourish. Religiously sensitive people who prefer not to turn from their sin are willing to pay to hear preachers teach that all God requires of you is to be religiously sensitive, not to turn from your sin. In certain countries teachers claim that people can buy themselves free of the punishment of sin. By giving money to the church, those teachers claim, the believers would be set free and could have a much better life. Often the preachers want the people to believe that how more they give to the church how better their life will be.

This clearly should be a sign for the believer to know he is not in a House of God, but in the house of the wicked. We should look at those preachers as the insubordinate, unruly and vain talkers and deceivers of souls, like the apostles encountered already in their time. Also by the Jews, the men of the circumcision, such preachers could be found. For gifts or for money their mouths were expedient to stop. They were teaching things which they ought not for the sake of filthy lucre. It has been of all times that there where preachers who did  like to go for their own profit and did not mind to subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for dishonest gain. Such persons we should recognise as false teachers and we should rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith; not giving heed to Jewish or Christian fables and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.

“10 For there are many rebellious people, mere talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision group. 11 They must be silenced, because they are ruining whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach—and that for the sake of dishonest gain. 12 Even one of their own prophets has said, “Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons.” 13 This testimony is true. Therefore, rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith 14 and will pay no attention to Jewish myths or to the commands of those who reject the truth.” (Titus 1:10-14 NIV)

False apostles and boasters

The apostle Paul warned already for such  false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. (2 Corinthians 11:13) He also gave the advice to look out if those preaching were people of sound mind, blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly, having charity out of a pure heart, with a good conscience and with faith unfeigned.

“5 The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6 Some have wandered away from these and turned to meaningless talk.” (1 Timothy 1:5-6 NIV)

God does not like empty boasters of knowledge, rights, and particular privileges; all noise, empty parade, and no work. For sure those who are willing or saying they want to or work for God, should be of the right attitude. Specious pretensions should not find any place in the heart of a preacher or of somebody willing to work in the church community. It is not because they can be handy man putting words together, playing by good words and fair speeches that they will necessary bring the Word of God. We should be on the lookout that it are not a multiply of words which deceive the hearts of the simple.

Being there for each other

English: Jewish Children with their Teacher in...

Jewish Children with
their Teacher in Samarkand. Early color photograph from Russia, created
by Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii as part of his work to document
the Russian Empire from 1909 to 1915. (Photo credit:
Wikipedia)

The one who likes to preach and have people in front of him he has to take care of,  knows that when he is a pastor of a flock he is like a teacher having to really love his students, willing to ensure that each one knows how uniquely talented he or she is and how we all have our reason to be here on this planet and to be a child of God. As a child of God every person has his  or her own speciality and those in charge of the ecclesia or community should try to see and nurture the potential in each member of the community.

As a preacher it is the task as like a teacher to care deeply about the meanings and purposes of the flock or members of the community their lives. We should be there for each one individually as a beacon in the dark see.  At all time we should be ready to be there for them who need us. We always should be willing to help them see the connections between their powerful talents and their callings and their futures.

Popularity trap

Today we can fall in the trap of the taste of popularity. Several churches around us do everything to be the most popular in their region. As believer in the Word of God, we should wonder if the aim by such churches is to grow to further the Word of God or to be a church which can bring enough money in the till for the pastor to survive on it or even to bring more wealth to that church than necessarily so.

In the postmodern age the church no longer enjoys a prevalent role in society and may look as something “passé”. We would tell lies if we would say we would not be interested in the growth of our church. We as preachers and leaders want our churches to grow and flourish through programs, curriculum, and outreach efforts. Many of us do also their best to reach as many people as possible. Lots of us are very limited in the means to attract people. Many preachers do not have an own church to preach in. Are those than the bad preachers? No. Are those the less fortunate preachers? Not necessarily so.

Church attendance in the industrialised countries is on the decline. Most of the people in the wealthy world are not interested in God. but there is one of the functions laid in front of the preacher or teacher. We do have to get people back to God. We should show those around us how important it is to have God in our life.

Ambiguity

A Boris on Rob Fairbanks his The Drum discussing a book by the editor of the Missional Church, Darrel L Guder, looks at life full of ambiguities we can have to face, because it is shaped by its context as the gospel reshapes the context.

In Ambiguity In the Church Fairbanks writes:

While ambiguity can cause stress, I’d like to argue that it is God’s tool to keep us on our toes. Instead of approaching the question of “are we reaching our culture?” as a reactionary instinct to a church crisis, I’d like to offer that we approach the issue as an opportunity to seek God. You see, the cause of ambiguity, and therefore many church problems, is not the lack of love for God or decline in spirituality (although this may sometimes be the case). The cause, as Guder puts it, is the dynamic “interaction between the gospel and all human cultures.” These cultures are always changing and need constant re-engagement by the church. In other words, ambiguity should be to the church as potholes are to the streets department (to contextualize it to the great City of Spokane). This is our business. As we move through ambiguity, we must seek God and the power of His Spirit to contextualize the message of the gospel and proclaim Jesus.

According to Darrell L. Guder in his book,Missional Church, the real issues in the current crises of the Christian church are spiritual and theological. Many have forgotten that the core of the church needs to flow from God and not as such from one or the other denominational organisation, be it the Papal instructors from Rome or the Tract and Bible Society from Pennsylvania.

Servant of the Master Teacher

We all should remember the task the Master Teacher Jeshua (Jesus Christ) has given those who are willing to follow him. Those who claim to be Christian should first of all be followers of Christ Jesus and try to do that what Jesus asked them to do. Secondly they also should take an example of their Master and try to step in his footsteps willing to become like him.

When you look for a good church, a good minister or good pastor you should look if in that place where you want to find God you can find the message of Christ and you find people trying to get the character of Jesus. The character of us individually and the character of us, collectively as a family, should clearly show positive results of the teachings of Christ and should show that it is a family of God. It was individual character and values that caused the first century church to grow rapidly during the Roman Empire’s pagan culture of many gods and emperor worship.

Lesslie Newbigin writes in Missionary Theologian:

Just because of the total dominance of European culture in the ecumenical movement there has seldom been any awareness among Western theologians of the extent to which their own theologies have been the result of a failure to challenge the assumptions of their own culture, and because theologians of the younger churches have been compelled to adopt this culture as the precondition of participation in the ecumenical movement they have not been in a position to present the really sharp challenge which should be addressed to the theologies of the Western churches.

In the religious world we have seen that the big accent went to what theologians had to say. Many forgot the Word that they had received and which was handed down from one generation to the other. Lots of priests, ministers, pastors or just the majority of clergymen where taken by the books of worldly people instead putting all their attention to the Holy Scriptures, the Book of books god has given humanity to find everything out.

Gospel Communication

It is truly the communication of the gospel which should conquer the hearts. And we should know that the right or the good preacher can be noticed in the willingness of him to submit himself to that Word of God and to let that Word of God speak for itself. The main focus in a service should be on that Word of God and not on the words of speaker such and so.

Preachers are not called to preach what’s popular according to the polls. They should concentrate on the Plan of God and may bring that in view by showing people the relation of what is going on and what God has in mind for our future. What happens today can be compared to previous happenings recalled in the Holy Scriptures. But the one speaking in front of the community is not called to preach merely moral exhortations or history lessons or social commentaries. We are called to preach the Word of God to the church of God and to everyone in His creation. This is how God brings life. Each person . . . is flawed and has faults and has sinned against God. And the terrible thing about our fallen natures is that we are greedy for ways to justify our sins against God. Every single one of us wants to know how we can defend ourselves from God’s charges. Therefore, we are in desperate need to hear God’s Word brought honestly to us, so that we don’t just hear what we want to hear but rather what God has actually said.

Serious word or entertainment

That what God has actually said must be brought forward. In the ecclesia everybody should come aware of what is written in the most Holy Book of Books. In case not much is read in the Bible at a service or in church, the visitor should wonder if in that church enough place is given to the Word of God. A tendency in churches today is that because people want to be entertained the church leadership is willing to oblige. If the people want more music and drama, many churches are willing give it and even to cut back on the time given to reading fragments of the Bible and on the time spent for the sermon or exhortation. Today music and drama will win hands down over preaching in many of our churches.

Holding on

When we look for a church we should look for the love of that word of life (Philippians 2:16). The great task of the preacher is to “hold out the word of life” to people who need it. The preacher willing to put himself aside for enabling that Word of God to resound in the church is the good preacher. Perhaps he may not be the best talker, the best preacher and not be the best entertainer, what is important is that he is a man of God and behaves like it.

Jehovah witnesses convention hall or Kingdom-hall in Varkaudessa

As a man of God he shall show love for God His Creation and shall respect all creations, no matter which believe they may have. We should listen very carefully how the preacher talks about others or how that church looks at other churches or treats other denominations. Do they bring hate talk or do they enjoy making the others look like devils? On the internet we can find hundreds of websites who spit on non-triniarian denominations like the Jehovah Witnesses (JW), the Bible Students (BS) and Christadelphians (Cd). Often many lies are told about those denominations and people are made afraid to encounter people from those denominations or to let others know they had already met such people.

Peterborough Cd Hall

Peterborough Christadelphian Hall

We would advice any person who has heard weird ideas about the JW, BS, or Cd, to go and look for themselves at their websites and to visit their kingdom halls, their a places of worship, prayer meeting-rooms or ecclesia buildings. It is not by a church-building with a classical tower that you shall be able to find the right preacher or right church. Church can be made in any sort of place. Any public room can be a place where people come to gather in the name of Christ, and there God will be with them. In church you should find people who love Jehovah, the Only One God, and who keep to His commandments and as such do not pray in front of portraits or statues, bow down for pictures and pray not to death people are saints, but direct their words to the Most High, Elohim Hashem Jehovah.

Watchdogs

We must be on our guard that we are not taken in by lies just because we hear them over and over again. We must also make sure that we ourselves are not guilty of trying to convince others of something that is not true by the use of repetition. We must be careful not having the Blind leading the blind. In the religious world there are many rebuking what is false but who not focus their teaching toward sound doctrine. Stemming from a pedestal of moralistic pride, Watchdog Preachers harp on everything that is wrong with the world. By those so called “Watchdog preachers” you shall  be able to find many who from their websites and from the pulpit spit on other denominations and try to picture those other denominations as awful as possible. For many it looks like a sport to find denominations which they can pull down. They would love to shoot down the ones in charge of that ghastly denomination. The preachers who love to show their dread and whose words are full of horror, should show you those are not people with love for the others in their heart.

When you encounter a website or when you do come in a church where you only hear remarks about others, you should question this. Those only telling their sheep where the poisoned food is, we often do not find them looking in their own bosom. Such Watchdog preachers rarely expound on the pure spiritual food of God’s word. Mostly they are more concerned to blacken others good name, to bring a misinterpretation of other denominations, to enjoy the slander and to run down the reputation of others. In the Body of Christ such malignant speaker when targeting other genuine Christians whose theology or philosophy of ministry does not exactly match up to theirs. Such a dogmatic approach makes the congregation sceptical of (at best) or judgemental toward (worst) anyone outside their camp. This also would make it more difficult for anybody with their previous background of an other denomination to have no conflicts after some time in that new camp of the Watchdog preacher.

All right, All good teachers

On the other hand having preachers who find everything is all right and everything can be done, it is also not good. Not everything is good ion the world. Not everything can be right. We live in a world of right and wrong, where not everything should be fully black and white. There may be shades of grey. While the Watchdog preacher may spit on those from outside he perhaps forgets to look what happens really in his own circles and like the “It’s All Good” Preachers he can look over the faults or wrong things which can happen in their own community.

Anybody in a Christian community always should listen carefully to and look at what others do and say in the community. When something happens which would not be according the teachings of Christ he or she should let the others know. The elder or preacher should exhort the people of the community and should help them to stay on the right track. But he also when he would be saying which could be wrong should be made aware of it. Perhaps it can be a misinterpretation or misunderstanding, but it is important that everything what is shared in the church community is according to the Biblical teachings.

Searching God’s Word

the word of God

The word of God (Photo credit: jangkwee)

Every teacher has to address false winds of doctrine. He himself should not only look to others that that preach according to the Holy Scriptures, but he also should always make enough effort to check that everything he says in the community is according to the Bible. He also best uses the Bible to let it speak in the meeting. The better teacher is that one who is willing to show others where in the Holy Scriptures is written that what he says it claims to say. A good teacher should not be afraid of the best handbook which God provided for him. We should be proud of it and use it as much as we can.

The good teacher or preacher is the one who understand that God is the Best Teacher and that His Word is the best way to bring the thought over to people.

Criticism and evaluation

Those who think the elder, pastor or minister may not criticise too much what is happening in the world should wonder if it is not our responsibility to look at the world and to take position in it. A “It’s All Good” Preacher may fail to critique current issues that need to be addressed and their congregation may never learn how to compare and contrast a secular worldview with a biblical one. Over time their congregation views current popular culture values as their source of authority in addition to (or instead of) the Bible. This results in over synthesizing and over-assimilating the unbiblical values of the culture.

In the past times admonition, warnings, and judgements were proclaimed, and so was good news — of victories, deliverance, and blessings — as well as praises to Jehovah God. (1Chronicles 16:23; Isaiah 41:27; 52:7) Many prophets like Jesus acted like an official herald, alerting their listeners to their Sovereign God’s activity, to a time of opportunity and decision. It was not only the ‘Good Newsshow’ which the prophets brought.

Comparison and attitude

When you are looking for a church you have to see and hear what is done and said in that church and should compare it to the Biblical texts and checking if what is preached is also be done or lived by.

Studying the Bible together in each others house or in a small space

As a preacher you should aim to live according to the commandments of God and to bring the Word of God in all its forms. You should try to do your uttermost best but should know that being a good preacher in the eyes of god does not necessarily mean that you will be a good preacher in the eyes of men.

You will notice when you look around that some people will believe the things said while other listeners would not believe. (Acts of the apostles 28:24) As a preacher it shall require patience and trust in God, who is the One who calls. Those coming in a Christian meeting should see if the Word of God gets the first place. Real Christian preaching should be based on God’s Word, making people to think about the essence of that Word and giving the community an opportunity to study that Word and to bring it in practice. Studying the Bible requires a response of some kind. It is vigorous, dynamic, and above all, it presents an issue on which people must take sides.

Man of God

Having a person of God, willing to serve the Only One God, Creator of heaven and earth, shall make that others look in vain to him or out of jealousy and out of anger others, also other preachers, will oppose him. Like  Jews stirred up the devout and honourable women and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, (Acts of the apostles 13:50) teachers of ‘high position’ or noted people in the civil community, will oppose those men of God. Also good preachers will find that others will hate them and  be filled with envy, speaking  against those things which were spoken honestly from the heart in love with God. The other denominations contradicting and blaspheming the ones who dare to keep to the teachings of the Bible and withholding any form of tradition. The  unbelieving so called Christians shall like the unbelieving Jews stir up the Gentiles and plant evil in their minds against the brethren. (Acts 14:2) Therefore a teacher or preacher following the Word of God should not be afraid or wondering if he is doing right keeping on the track of God, when an assault is made both by the gentiles and also the preachers of other denominations, with their rulers. The preacher willing to be a man of God should know that when he places God His Word in the first place, he an the brethren he can show God’s Purpose, becoming followers of the churches of God in the world which are in Christ Jesus, remembering the suffering of the first Christians, for you also have suffered like things from your own countrymen, even as they have from the Jews. (1 Thessalonians 2:14)

Going out in the world

Going from house to house witnessing for Jehovah God – Lisboa, Portugal

A brother or sister in Christ, following the task Jesus has given: to go out in the world and to teach the Gospel of the Good News. When Jesus sent out his early disciples to preach, he directed them: “Into whatever city or village you enter, search out who in it is deserving.” (Matthew 10:7, 11-14) A good teacher, preacher or elder can stimulate the ones in the congregation to keep going around telling the Word of God. The good preacher can persuade the listeners around him to continue in the grace of God, and is not afraid to personally dispute in the synagogue with the Jews, on the net with the other preachers who oppose him, and with the devout persons, and in the marketplace daily with those who met with him to discuss the Word of God. (Acts 17:17). But we should also know that such ‘searching out’ would reasonably include going to the people’s homes, where “deserving” persons would heed the message and where disciples even would be able to find lodging for the night if necessary. (Luke 9:1-6).

Place to meet

All people should know that there is no requirement of a special church building, but that any place can be a house for God. We as preachers should not be ashamed we do not have our own church building and do perhaps have to meet in small places not of our own, to discuss the Word of God. As the first followers of Christ came together in their own houses we also as brethren and sisters in Christ and as interested people in the Word of God, should share our houses with those who are willing to learn about that Word of God. Any private house is worthy to become a place where people can meet to read in the Holy Scriptures and to talk about the Wishes of God. A preacher should be happy when he can find such a house as a house-church, where he can enter and say first, ‘May this house have peace.’ (Luke 10:1-7) Than to make it a place where people can gather in peace and share the love of God between each other.

Presenting a place where holiness and expression of worship can come from inside shall foster a small community rich in spirit. With that fire going in the few their heart the preacher as well as the followers should be pleased because it will be a much higher treasure than what those people, present in a mega church, perhaps can find. Having not only a preacher committing himself to the trustworthy creator, but all present offering themselves to God, shows where the right preacher is working.

Action and reaction

As a person present in the community, but also as preacher you should know that some may become active opposers of the Kingdom message. (Acts of the apostles 13:50; 18:5, 6) We all should know that it is quite possible that some will listen for a time, but eventually will turn their back for various reasons. (John 6:65, 66) Not those disappointing happenings should get our minds in distress, but we should find joy in those, even when it are just a few, who will accept the good news and act upon it. (Acts 17:11; Luke 8:15). We should be pleased when we can find a growing amount of people willing to do the Will of God.

All of the community should go out and tell the world about the work Jesus has done for all of us. It is the task of the leaders to guide such a preaching work. At such occasions the good preacher should provide counsel on such superintending ministry. The good teacher shall always be reminding the ones of the community of our important task to bring the Word of God to all people all over the world. He shall not be afraid of telling about the biblical orders or commandments, charging them before God as witness, observing the commandments and becoming doers of the Word.

A place of peace and clean pure words

In the place where God shall be able to be found it will be the preacher with the elders who shall take care that people can peacefully come together not to fight about words, a thing of no usefulness at all because it overturns those listening. They shall take care that all members of the gathering will be willing to give their share to the community and will do their utmost, to present themselves approved to God, a workman with nothing to be ashamed of, handling the word of the truth aright.

The good preacher shall shun empty speeches that violate what is holy; for they will advance to more and more ungodliness, and their word will spread like gangrene. The good preacher shall do his utmost best to use the Word of God to proof what we should know and how to keep all believing the right things.

Small but strong and upright, belonging to God

It is better to have the solid foundation of God staying standing strong in a small community than having a mega church where many people may have a lot of fun but do not really learn much about God His Word. The good or right church, or the best community or ecclesia is the one which is looking for God His Will.

The pleasure for the pastor should be that he can see that the flock is listening to God and having this seal: “Jehovah knows those who belong to him,” and: “Let everyone naming the name of Jehovah renounce unrighteousness.”

“14  Keep reminding them of these things. Warn them before God against quarrelling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 16 Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. 17 Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 who have wandered away from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some. 19  Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.”” (2 Timothy 2:14-19 NIV)

Every preacher, pastor, minister or elder should be willing to give himself totally in the hands of God. Those people in charge of a church-community should make sure that their flock will gather regularly to hear from God.

When we have been hearing all sorts of messages all week long; when we come together with like minded brethren and sisters we all should take time to hear a message from God His Word and to feel how we all can be united under Christ as children of Jehovah God. As important as it is for the people in the gathering to have time to express themselves to God, it is more important that they hear God express Himself to them; that they be fed from His Word; that they be instructed in the ways of God’s kingdom; that they be effectively strengthened by His might in their inner beings to be salt and light to the world in which God has placed them and to have their joint training for the kingdom.

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Of interest:

  1. Does God Exist?
  2. Creator of heaven and earth and everything around יהוה
  3. The truth is very plain to see and God can be clearly seen
  4. God is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him
  5. Only One God
  6. God is One
  7. יהוה , YHWH and Love: Four-letter words
  8. God should be your hope
  9. Faith
  10. Faith a commitment to the promises of Christ and to to the demands of Christ
  11. God receives us on the basis of our faith
  12. Belief of the things that God has promised
  13. Fearing the right person
  14. Getting to know the Truth
  15. How to look for and how to handle the Truth
  16. Eternal Word that tells everything
  17. Bric-a-brac of the Bible
  18. The World framed by the Word of God
  19. Bible word of God, inspired and infallible
  20. True riches
  21. To mean, to think, outing your opinion, conviction, belief – Menen, mening, overtuiging, opinie, geloof
  22. Meeting – Vergadering
  23. Congregate, to gather, to meet
  24. Commit your self to the trustworthy creator
  25. Holiness and expression of worship coming from inside
  26. Doctrine and Conduct Cause and Effect
  27. Parish, local church community – Parochie, plaatselijke kerkgemeenschap
  28. The Church, Body of Christ and remnant Israel synonymous
  29. Built on or Belonging to Jewish tradition #4 Mozaic and Noachide laws
  30. Many churches
  31. Was Jesus Religious
  32. How is it that Christ pleased God so perfectly?
  33. Called Christian
  34. Follower of Jesus part of a cult or a Christian
  35. Casual Christians
  36. Breathing to teach
  37. Manifests for believers #1 Sex abuse setting fire to the powder
  38. Manifests for believers #2 Changing celibacy requirement
  39. Manifests for believers #3 Catholic versus Protestant
  40. Manifests for believers #5 Christian Union
  41. Making church
  42. Charles Taze Russell never claimed to have found a new religion, or a new church.
  43. Judaism & Catholicism Universal ‘churches’
  44. Synagogue, Church or Ecclesia for the Christian
  45. Those who call the Christadelphians a cult
  46. Uncovering the Foundations of Faith
  47. What’s church for, anyway?
  48. Rebirth and belonging to a church
  49. Commitment to Christian unity
  50. United people under Christ
  51. Exceptionalism and Restricting Laws
  52. An ecclesia in your neighborhood
  53. Intentions of an Ecclesia
  54. Hello America and atheists
  55. Engaging the enemy
  56. Six Reasons Young Christians Leave Church
  57. Knowing where to go to
  58. Looking to the East and the West for Truth
  59. Love and cultivate that which is pure
  60. The business of this life
  61. Church sent into the world
  62. Democratic principles for the church of today
  63. Sociological changes to be taken serious by the church
  64. People who know how to pray to move God to take hold of our affairs in a mighty way
  65. Church is a Hospital for sinners
  66. Reflection for today: hating your brother
  67. Kill the messenger
  68. The truest greatness lies in being kind
  69. Don’t let anyone move you off the foundation of your faith
  70. Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair
  71. Faith is a pipeline
  72. Faith and trial
  73. A Living Faith #1 Substance of things hoped for
  74. A Living Faith #2 State of your faith
  75. A Living Faith #3 Faith put into action
  76. A Living Faith #4 Effort
  77. A Living Faith #5 Perseverance
  78. A Living Faith #6 Sacrifice
  79. A Living Faith #7 Prayer
  80. A Living Faith #8 Change
  81. A Living Faith #9 Prayer
  82. A Living Faith #10: Our manner of Life #2
  83. Aim High: Examples of Godly Characters to follow
  84. Solving all the problems that come to us
  85. Being Justified by faith
  86. Preventing us from going window-shopping in prayer
  87. Be Honest
  88. Kindness
  89. Walking in love by faith, not by sight
  90. Let me keep to “first importance” things
  91. Bearing fruit
  92. Living in faith
  93. Feed Your Faith Daily
  94. He who kneels before God can stand before anyone!
  95. Man’s plans prevailed by God’s purpose
  96. Who are you going to reach out to today
  97. Don’t Envy the World
  98. The first on the list of the concerns of the saint
  99. Character transformed by the influence of our fellowships
  100. Let us meet in any suitable place
  101. An ecclesia in your neighborhood

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Readings from other groups and denominations:

  1. Does the method of preaching from house to house have its basis in the Scriptures?
    Some religions have acknowledged the Christian obligation to preach in public places and from house to house, although this is often left to a limited group of missionaries or clergy to fulfill… not every member.
  2. What is the “Good News of the Kingdom”? Who is Preaching it? And What Does “For a Witness to all the Nations” Mean? (Mt. 24:14)
    Telling us what will mark the last days, Jesus went on to say: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there will be great earthquakes, and in one place after another pestilences and food shortages; and there will be fearful sights and from heaven great signs.” (Luke 21:10, 11) Jesus also said: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.”(Matthew 24:14)
    +
    Jesus did not specifically say that every man, woman and child on earth will have the good news directly preached to in the last days. He said that the good news will be preached in all of the Earth for a witness to all of the nations. This means that every nation will have the good news preached in it to some extent.
  3. Following Jesus’ Footsteps
    We love and cherish our heavenly father Jehovah; we are committed to sharing the ‘good news’ of God’s kingdom, the same as Jesus.
  4. How Is Our Kingdom-Preaching Work Organized?
    We try to contact people at their homes. Jesus trained his disciples to preach the good news from house to house. (Matthew 10:11-13; Acts 5:42; 20:20) Those first-century evangelizers were assigned preaching 31specific territories in which to preach. (Matthew 10:5, 6;2 Corinthians 10:13) Similarly today, our preaching work is well-organized, and each congregation is given an assigned area to cover. This enables us to fulfill Jesus’ command to “preach to the people and to give a thorough witness.”—Acts 10:42.
  5. Preach the word, be at it urgently
    When you consider what stands to be gained or lost as a result of our preaching, you probably feel an urgent need to speak to others about the good news. (Rom. 10:13, 14)
  6. Bearing thorough witness concerning the kingdom of God and by using persuasion with them concerning Jesus
    Was Paul disheartened because not everyone accepted the good news? By no means! Acts 28:30, 31 tells us: “He remained for an entire two years in his own hired house, and he would kindly receive all those who came in to him, preaching the kingdom of God to them.” w12 1/15 2:18-20
  7. As you go, preach, saying, “The kingdom of the heavens has drawn near.”
    Jesus warned his apostles that many would oppose their Kingdom-preaching work. (Matt. 10:16-23) An especially painful form of opposition is experienced when family members reject the Kingdom message. (Matt. 10:34-36) Does this mean that happiness is out of reach for Christ’s followers who live in religiously divided households? Not at all!
  8. Preaching with zeal and urgency vital to keeping on the watch.
    no chain could silence the zealous apostle! Paul continued to find ways to bear witness. After three days, Paul summoned the principal men of the Jews in order to give them a witness. Then, on a chosen day, he gave an even greater witness.—Acts 28:17, 23, 24.w12 1/15 2:17, 18

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Additional reading about House-churches:

  1. An organic church
    By “organic church,” I mean a non-traditional church that is born out of spiritual life instead of constructed by human institutions and held together by religious programs. Organic church life is a grass roots experience that is marked by face-to-face community, every-member functioning, open-participatory meetings (opposed to pastor-to-pew services), non-hierarchical leadership, and the centrality and supremacy of Jesus Christ as the functional Leader and Head of the gathering.
    Put another way, organic church life is the “experience” of the Body of Christ. In its purest form, it’s the fellowship of the Triune God brought to earth and experienced by human beings.
  2. The House Church Movement: Learning from the Past – Pioneering for the Future
  3. Why house church
    Many people today are catching the vision of what the church is meant to be as she throws off the hindrances and becomes the Spirit-filled movement of Believers she is destined for. They are catching the vision for living life 24/7, with and for God without one moment or place being more holy than another. It is a vision of every believer contributing to one another through the spiritual gifts that reside in each one.
    +
    Perhaps the most significant case for house churches is that they can be easily started and multiplied. God’s clear desire is for the earth to be filled with the “knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea” (Habakkuk 2:14). Rather than build buildings and organizations that require tremendous time, finances, and energy to reproduce, The Kingdom of God multiplies organically: one seed produces fruit, that produces more seed that produces more fruit. The principle of multiplication is far more powerful than we realize. Take a look at any forest and realize how much is accomplished through natural reproductive processes without any human aid at all.
  4. Are You in the Wilderness?
    So many Christians I meet today, whether in person, on social networks, or through emails, tell me that they are living in a spiritual wilderness. They feel alone, spiritually isolated, and they don’t have too many Christian friends that they are experiencing a rich and full fellowship in Christ with.
    Some of them attend a church on Sunday morning, yet still, they are living in the desert and they know it.
  5. Church in the Home? Or at Home in the Church?
    what we do in our own houses, our relationships with our families, with our sons, daughters, with our wives, we should bring all of it into the church. We should act as if these people are really our own brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers, because that is what they really are.
  6. A Hundred Mothers, Brothers…Intimate Relationships
    true “house church” is bringing the home into our church life, not bringing our church into the homes. It’s very superficial to just bring our big building into little buildings, but never change anything in the heart.
  7. Time to Listen and Change
    The books of the Bible were written across continents. The letters and relationships are across years and across cities, countries and continents. Not a single book in the Bible is about only one local assembly. The point is, that even across the miles and the continents, we need each other. God’s call to us today is that we begin to live that way and involve ourselves in each other’s lives. Are we to admonish one another on Sunday only? No, daily. Why? So that we won’t be hardened and deceived. That’s in the Bible. Be called alongside one another daily so that we won’t be hardened and deceived. Whether we are old or young, single or married, ten children or two children, teenager or toddler—who are my mothers, brothers and sisters? We need each other, because you have gifts I don’t have.
  8. House Church Central
    All of the churches in the New Testament era were small assemblies that met in homes. While setting up institutional forms of “church” may or may not provide a way to honor God, the movement toward the institution and the human authority that tends to accompany hierarchical institutional structure are not theologically neutral.
  9. Thoroughly Biblical Church
    When they came together in their houses their corporate worship and sharing together was completely open and spontaneous (I Corinthians 14v26 describes the proceedings as, “…each one has…”), with no one leading from the front. The early believers didn’t have anything that even approximated a church service.
    As part of these proceedings they ate the Lord’s Supper as a full meal, indeed as their main meal of the day, commonly referring to it as the love-feast.
    They understood each church to be an extended family unit (the idea of churches being institutions or organizations would have been totally alien to them), and practiced non-hierarchical plural male leadership that had arisen from within the church they would subsequently lead. This indigenous eldership (elder, pastor/ shepherd, bishop/overseer being synonymous terms in the New Testament) sought to lead consensually wherever possible, and was understood to be purely functional and not in any way positional.
  10. Devonport House Church ->
    About House Church
    House church is an informal term for a group of Christians gathering regularly or spontaneously in a home instead of a building dedicated to the purpose. Another term with the same meaning is “home church”.
    Some groups meet like this because they lack a conventional church building; but these are not normally regarded as house churches. Others meet in homes because they prefer to meet informally, or because they believe meeting in a home is the true pattern set in the first century and intended by Christ. Some, perhaps, meet in homes for several of these reasons.
    House churches should not be confused with cell churches. A house church is not normally part of a larger, overseeing organization, although the group may associate informally with other Christians and house churches in networks reflecting equality rather than hierarchy. Those who meet in house churches regard themselves as belonging to the worldwide Church, but are self-governing and independent, generally without formal relationships with established “institutional” churches.
    Some house churches have a conventional leadership structure, others have none.
  11. The House Church Movement, the perfect church
    Thousands of Christians are now meeting in simple House Churches in the United States. They have “dropped out” of institutionalized religion and prefer to worship Jesus in biblical authenticity and simplicity – just like the early Christians did.
    +
    From living rooms to coffee shops, offices to parking lots, under trees and secretly underground (in oppressive countries), these new expressions of the Body of Christ are rapidly multiplying around the world. In recent years, Christian researchers and secular media alike have taken notice of the dramatic transformation within Christianity.
  12. House Church Basics — Pt. 3: Missional Church
    One of the hallmarks of the house church movement is that it seeks to be what the church, in fact, is: missional. Jesus went everywhere proclaiming and demonstrating the reality, love, and power of the Kingdom (healing the brokenhearted, setting captives free, proclaiming God’s acceptance, etc.) The church (the people of God) goes and does the same.
    This means that church, first of all, needs to transition from being a “come and see” place to a “go and be with the lost” movement.
  13. Inspired by Cuban Christians
    They have very little money, limited transportation, limited communication, no freedom of speech, no freedom of assembly, no church buildings in which to minister, and the knowledge that they are constantly being watched. The Christian work is primarily through house churches and word of mouth.
    Yet what passion; what joy; and what commitment to the Lord. They are sacrificing for the Lord in ways that would make most American Christians embarrassed.
  14. China cracks down on house church groups again
    The church tried to hold services in the open air after it was evicted from a rented space as the landlord was pressured to not renew the lease, China Aid said.
    +
    Underground church members are routinely sent to labor camps where abuse and persecution is reported even as they languish in the camps without trial.
  • Thoughts Concerning the Preacher (fromthepreacherspc.org)
    There is usually a lot of confusion in most congregations of the Lord’s church concerning the work of the preacher. Many have their own ideas, some have no real idea, and others have the wrong idea about the preacher’s job. To help the church and the preacher have a better working relationship, consider the following thoughts.
  • What if Modern Preachers Preached What Jesus was Preaching? (holyspiritactivism.wordpress.com) wonders what would happen if certain preachers did what Jesus preached according to the Bible.
  • A Plea for Sharp and Polished Preachers… (pastorkemp.com)
    It is very easy to become so preoccupied with the work of the ministry that we fail to remain hidden for long periods of time with God.  It is seldom those hectic busy moments that are always clamoring for our time and attention where we are sharpen and polished by God—that only occurs when we are close to the “flesh-killing” presence of Almighty God.
  • In Have You Seen the Viral Videos of the ‘Pint-Sized Preachers’ Yet? (theblaze.com) you can see how children can be exploited and which impression some people have about “teaching” and “preaching” and what certain people do call a “sermon”.
    +Are you ready for National Geographic’s “Pint-Sized Preachers?” The new hour-long documentary explores the lives of three kid preachers who give their all to spread Jesus Christ’s message.While some believe that these children are being exploited my overly fervent parents, others see them as a beacon of hope. This latter group believes that, despite their youth, God has chosen to speak through them.

    The bizarre part (and there are some very intriguingly odd pieces to this puzzle)? One of the three — 4-year-old Kanon Tipton — is barely out of diapers, yet he delivers fiery sermons and inspires faith in those who listen.

  • Cotton Candy Preaching (fromthepreacherspc.org)
    Is it worse to teach in the Lord’s church false doctrine or to teach simple pleasant truths from God’s word? In answer to this question most people would quickly say that false doctrine would be the worst thing of all to teach. But consider this, what if we only taught concerning the loving story of Ruth, or about benevolence, or about the need for loving families, or about the need to feel good about ourselves? Now these are topics that we should be concerned about and are issues of interest, and should be taught. But, can a Christian survive spiritually solely on this kind of diet? Can a child of God mature and be grounded in the faith solely on these kinds of meals? The answer is no!
    +
    Many preach to please men and tickle their ears with what they like to hear. Paul said, “For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ” (Gal. 1:10). Paul warned Timothy about people who have “itching ears” and warned that such people will gather around those who will scratch their ears by teaching lies (2 Tim. 4:3-4). The whole counsel of God must be preached, regardless of how it is received (Acts 20:26-27)! The truth is truth and must be preached! I didn’t write the book (Bible) and have no right to “water it down” to please men.
  • More Expository Preaching Please! (watumishiwaneno.wordpress.com)
    • Humanity seeking Self-Praise- All men uniting to build a tower whose top reaches the heavens with one aim of making a name for themselves!

    This is what man-made religion does; seeking glory and praise for man instead of giving praise and glory to God.

  • 10 Scriptures In The Bible That ‘Prosperity Preachers’ Choose To Ignore! (endtimereport.net)
    On one so called ‘Christian’ channel this evening, a prosperity pimp is selling potential “salvations” for 5 of your “loved ones”  in return for a financial donation. On another, a (proven) fraud is offering his “miracle mixture” and on another a so-called ‘financial preacher’ is manipulating the viewer to hurry up and send in a $58 ‘seed’ for a “triple blessing.”No mention of Jesus or any solid Bible teaching or call for repentance, just a manipulative call for your hard-earned cash! Welcome to perhaps 50% or more of Christian programming today (unfortunately).
  • Thinking over my life (mysecretlifewithyou.wordpress.com)
    People are really interested in just reaching the masses, and not everyone has issues and so we don’t have to talk about everything, but wouldn’t it be comforting to have someone talk to you in your situation.  I’m grateful that I’ve heard some great preachers in my life that have brought healing to my heart, but the majority of people I know in my church are about pretense and appearance.  I do it to, I smile when I don’t want to…. I shake hands and clap backs, and act like I’m happy, because being unhappy means I don’t have faith and I don’t believe God can handle my situation.

Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger steps down as Pope Benedict XVI

We can not avoid talking about the news of the day. Yesterday the television-programs had their mouthful of the resignation of 85-year-old Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger alias Pope Benedict XVI.

English: Pope Benedict XVI in St. Peter's Squa...

Pope Benedict XVI in St. Peter’s Square, Rome (2007).(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Roman Catholic church has always claimed to be the rightful bearer of the Church of Christ and having the right to have the follower of the apostle Peter, whom they consider to have been the first Pope. though if they would read the Holy Scriptures more carefully they would notice that there was not such an hierarchy in the first faith-group which tried to follow the teachings of Christ.

when Jesus was alive he also did not place one pupil in front of the other and taught them that they should be humble, respecting each other and trying to use all the gifts they received from the Father above to do their duties as good as possible. In the united body to honour God and to be followers of Christ, there is no such order that one person would be above or under the other. All have to be united as brothers and sisters in Christ. All having Christ Jesus as the cornerstone and the example to follow.

“for any other foundation can no one lay than the [one] being laid, who is jesus christ.” (1 Corinthians 3:11 MKJV)

The last few months we could notice that more than one person in that Catholic Church tried to cover up the crimes of their priests. Also Benedict, when he still was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, and led the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, this cardinal not only covered paedophile crimes, when he had become Pope, he and the Vatican office did first as if they did not know about such things. Only when letters proofed that they should have been aware of those crimes and did not the right thing, they agreed to the letters, but said they did what they could do, but forgot to warn the juridical powers.

In archdiocese documents released under a court order earlier this month, Mahony is revealed to have taken actions deliberately contrived to avoid legal prosecution of priests who had sexually abused — and even raped — children. The documents were so damaging that Mahony, now retired and once thought to be a contender for the papacy, was publicly rebuked by current Archbishop of Los Angeles Jose Gomez, and stripped of any public duties, an unprecedented censure of a cardinal archbishop by his successor.

Amid the cache of church records, released as part of a settlement between the archdiocese and 500 sex-abuse victims, are several letters to Ratzinger from Mahoney, in which the California prelate reports to the Vatican his reasons for various actions (such as defrocking) taken against the offending priests. The records amount to some 30,000 pages, so their full contents have yet to be pored through by investigators and journalists.

What is clear, though, is that Mahony repeatedly failed to act on concerns about the sexual abuse of children by priests that brought to him by pastors and church officials throughout the diocese, and that when he did, his actions were designed to avoid criminal prosecutions of the predator priests. And it is also clear that in his Vatican office, Ratzinger was the recipient of letters from Mahony informing the Holy See of what actions he had taken.

Back in 1045, the irredeemably outrageous Benedict IX – the only man to be pope more than once, and the only one ever to sell the papacy – also stepped down, essentially for the cash. Accused by St Peter Damian of “feasting on immorality”, by Bishop Benno of Piacenza of committing “many vile adulteries and murders” and by Pope Victor III of being a pope “so vile, so foul, so execrable, that I shudder to think of it,” Benedict ostensibly resigned to get married – but not before he had sold the office to his godfather, who became Gregory VI (and had to resign himself the following year because, even by the standards of the 11th century, buying the papacy wasn’t really on).

In 1415 we also find an other resignation.  Bishop of Castello from 1380 and titular Patriarch of Constantinople in 1390 and pope on 30 Nov., 1406, forsaken by most of his cardinals, Gregory XII resigned. At that time there was also a rival pope in Avignon, Benedict XIII. The schism erupted in 1378 one year after Gregory XI was named the Pope in Rome, ending the sixty-seven year reign of the ‘Avignon Papacy’ during which time seven pontiffs ruled from that city in southern France. (Gregory XI was actually named Pope in 1370, as the last of the seven ‘Avignon popes,’ but he did not move to Rome until seven year later).

Following the death of Gregory XI in March 1378, under pressure from Romans to elect a Roman leader of the church, the cardinals named Pope Urban VI who was from Naples. Urban VI quickly fell out of favor, leading to the election of a ‘rival pope,’ Pope Clement VII, in September of that year, who re-established the papacy in Avignon – meaning the Catholic Church now had a pope and an ‘anti-pope,’ thereby dividing the European continent.

After Clement VII and Urban VI died, the schism continued through their respective successors, Pope Boniface IX (who became the ‘Roman’ pope in 1389) and Benedict XIII (the Avignon antipope who was crowned in 1394).

H.H. Pope Innocent VII

H.H. Pope Innocent VII (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Upon the death of Boniface in 1404, some hopes for a resolution to the schism emerged when the cardinals in Rome offered not to name a new pope immediately if Benedict would resign and give up the Avignon faction’s claims on the papacy. When Benedict and his representatives refused, the Roman Cardinals named Pope Innocent VII as the new pope in Rome. Upon Innocent VII’s death in 1406, Gregory XII was named his successor (while Benedict XIII still ruled in Avignon).

The dispute deteriorated into further complications in 1409 when a church council in Pisa elected yet another anti-pope, Alexander V, who lasted about a year, until he was succeeded by John XXIII.

The issue was not resolved until 1414 when the Council of Constance pressured anti-pope John XXIII to resign and excommunicated the Avignon Pope, Benedict XIII.

File:Gregory XII.jpg

Gregorius XII

Due to his great piety and his earnest desire for the end of the schism after the death of Innocent VII the cardinals at Rome unanimously had elected Angelo Corporrario pope on 30 Nov., 1406. The split that divided the Catholic church for nearly 40 years and had, by the stage Gregory did the decent thing, reached the point where there were three different claimants to the papal throne: Roman Pope Gregory XII, Avignon Antipope Benedict XIII, and Pisan Antipope John XXIII.

However, Gregory XII’s resignation was not, strictly speaking, voluntary since it involved various behind-the-scenes machinations and intrigues, complicated by the Avignon and Pisa claimants.

Thus, perhaps the last truly voluntary resignation by a Pope occurred decades earlier, in 1294, when Pope Celestine V quit after serving only five months.

Succeeding Pope Nicholas IV in July 1294, perhaps Celestine V’s most notable achievement was issuing a decree which granted the right of a pope to abdicate (a step he himself took in December of that year).

Explaining his wish to resign, Celestine V said he was motivated by “the desire for humility, for a purer life, for a stainless conscience, the deficiencies of his own physical strength, his ignorance, the perverseness of the people, [and] his longing for the tranquility of his former life”.

Pope Benedict XVI who stunned the world by becoming the first Pope after World War II to step down earlier. Since no pope has retired in almost 600 years, there is no formal retirement plan for popes. However, as a bishop (and possibly a cardinal), Benedict will continue to have access to the Vatican’s lavish healthcare plan and probably also to the private doctors who currently manage his medical treatment. The pope does not officially receive a salary, though his needs are seen to by the Holy See. Canon law requires each diocese to provide support and housing for its priests after they retire, though the details of priests’ and bishops’ pension plans vary from country to country.

Dr. Donald Prudlo of the Vatican says about the significance of this decision of Ratzinger to resign:

“The important thing is that the Catholic Church is such an historically rooted church that we do have things to look to in order to deal with an event of this type. As unusual as it is, we can look back at other examples and know that the laws which govern these things have been long established in Catholic canon law (canon 332 of the Code of Canon Law). And so, for instance, the rules regarding the conclave that is to come up have been rehearsed for nearly a millennium. And the Pope, Blessed John Paul II in his Constitution Universi Dominici gregis, once again re-affirmed these things that have been thought about and discussed for an exceptionally long time. So while we have, what is to us, a very, very shocking, and something that makes us certainly have concern for Pope Benedict himself, we know that the church has the resources and has the things from her history to be able to meet these challenging situations.”

This occasion calls for looking into the reality of figures allowed or chosen by God to rule his church. The Roman Catholics do have their Pope, the Jehovah Witnesses do have their Watch Tower Society which receives the same infallibility as the Catholic Pope.

Jesus himself did not know when he would return, and for many things he said the people around him it was a matter of his Father. How on earth would other people receive more knowledge or power than Jesus? He himself also did not appoint anybody or wanted to have one person in a higher position than the other. The opposite, Jesus wanted all his followers to be humble brethren and sisters willing to be the slave of others, working as servants for God.

The apostles and prophets mazy be used for the foundation of a working community in Christ but that community at to be build up by the teachings of Christ Jesus making every person fit to be part of the building stones, fitting each in brick by brick. Stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that should hold all the parts together. As the apostles could see it taking shape day after day — a holy temple built by God, we too, today can still find people gathered together, willing to be under Christ, as one body of faithful believers.

The church or Christian community does not need a sorry bunch — pseudo-apostles, lying preachers, crooked workers — posing as Christ’s agents but sham to the core. The church of God should be made up by people who really love God and accept His son for what he really was and is. It should be people who call others also to be welcome to the living Stone, the source of life. People who know that it is God who knows the heart and God who chooses His people, His workmen. And those who may feel to be called should be humble workers for God and not for themselves or worldly organisations. God should be the priority, and the telling of the Good News of the coming Kingdom of God.

It is  God who sets in the place of honour. Every believer has to present him or herself as building stone for the construction of a sanctuary vibrant with life, in which they’ll serve as holy priests offering Christ-approved lives up to God. The Scriptures provide precedent:

“4  As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by

God and precious to him— 5 you also, like living stones, are being

built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual

sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For in Scripture

it says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone,

and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”” (1 Peter

2:4-6 NIV)

“20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.” (Ephesians 2:20-21 NIV)

“But I do not think I am in the least inferior to those “super-apostles”.” (2 Corinthians 11:5 NIV)

“For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 11:13 NIV)

The apostle Peter knew that Christ was the ultimate rock.

“8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! 9 If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed, 10 then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. 11 He is “‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone.’” (Acts 4:8-11 NIV)

Also the apostle Paul was aware that he was not the most important apostle, nor peter whom he even rebuked at a certain point. (Galatians 2:11)

“23 Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; 24 but because Jesus lives for ever, he has a permanent priesthood. 25 Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” (Hebrews 7:23-25 NIV)

“For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him.” (Romans 6:9 NIV)

“For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Saviour.” (Ephesians 5:23 NIV)

“22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fulness of him who fills everything in every way.” (Ephesians 1:22-23 NIV)

When we look at 1 Corinthians 3:11 where we are called to remember that there is only one foundation, the one already laid: Jesus Christ, how can it than be that there should be special throned people who can be Pope and call themselves the main Leader of the Church?

“For no-one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 3:11 NIV)

When the Catholic Church or the Jehovah Witnesses claim that only the faithful slave, either the Pope for the Roman Catholic church, or the Watchtower Society, can be the one spokesperson and the one bringing infallible teaching to the flock, than you could wonder why Jesus is called the one mediator between god and man. Jesus, the son of God is namely sitting at the right hand of Jehovah God, and has taken the role of mediator, so that he can speak for the earthly beings, whom he also shall have to judge at the end-times.

“For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,” (1 Timothy 2:5 NIV)

God does not want an other mediator and Christ Jesus should be for us the most respectable and most perfect spokesman. We do not need a Pope when we trust that Christ Jesus also would lead his church here on earth and will follow it up from above in heaven. As Jesus trusted his Father we should trust God, giving to those who he thinks necessary to give guidance in the ecclesia and God providing people with the necessary gifts to proclaim the Good News and the Kingdom of God.

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Read also:

Pope Benedict XVI resigns
Yesterday the Vatican has confirmed that Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger’s papacy began in 2005 will come to an end at the end of the month, because Pope Benedict XVI is to resign. This is reportedly only the second time a head of the Catholic church has stepped down. The last time was nearly 600 years ago.

The Pope Resigns
The Roman Catholics claim that Jesus Christ appointed Peter, one of his disciples, the first Pope, and since then there has been a handing on, or a succession, to this office, right down to Pope Benedict himself.
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They claim that here Jesus pronounces that Peter is to be the leader of the church. But a careful reading of what he is saying reveals that Jesus is actually saying that the rock on which the church is built is his confession and understanding of who Jesus is.

Virtually unprecedented: papal resignation throughout history

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A Society pleading poverty

It is incredible how many people can get enthusiast to do the work Jesus had asked from them. All those who call themselves Christian should go out in the world and preach the Gospel of the Good News of the coming Kingdom of God. Though we are afraid we can not find many Christians bringing that Good News worldwide. But it is also wrong of the Jehovah Witnesses to think they are the only ones who bear witness. We do agree the other groups, like Mormons, Abrahamic Faith, Church of God people and Biblestudents and Christadelphians are minority groups. But they also try to bring the Word of God to as many places as they can. Those groups are by a lot of people considered to be sects or cults, because they do not adhere to the mainstream believe.

Politics and acceptance

In the world it can go very strange with ideas about those preaching groups. As soon as one of the groups becomes more powerful or has something to offer politicly it can be changed. For example the Baptists in Belgium are a sect or cult according to the State committee about sects, while in the United States they are one of the mainstream churches. The Mormon Church in Belgium and the United States are also mentioned under the list of sects. But recently the Billy Graham group threw his support behind Mitt Romney due to his clear support of biblical values of marriage and opposition to abortion and lots of Americans suddenly do not consider the Mormons a cult but the best Christian value. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association seems to find Mormons being Christians like they are, and a group they do not need to evangelize, while the others are non-trinitarian and therefore not Christian and in high need to get to know Christ. The only thing is that they forget that they themselves are not following Christ Jesus as it should and that they believe other values than thought in the Holy Scriptures, the Book of books which Bible Sudents,  Jehovah Witnesses, Christadelphians, Church of Abrahamic Faith and others like Messianic Jews take as the Book to follow.

Jehovah's Witnesses House Bratislava

Jehovah’s Witnesses House Bratislava (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today we can not only see hiding the light of the Gospel under a bushel in the name of politics, some groups do not mind bringing cover-up policy, like the Roman Catholic Church and the Jehovah Witnesses about the paedophilia acts of their preachers. The ongoing ‘accidents’ and ‘files being lost’ in the court case of the archbishopric Mechelen and the diocese Bruges show clearly how politics and Roman Catholic Church are still interwoven in the jurisdiction system of Belgium, though the last few years the Roman Catholic Church had to give the power over the country to the Banks. The Witnesses kept all the time quiet about the matters that went wrong between youngsters and people in charge of certain Kingdomhalls.

Sanctity of life and love

The sanctity of life is extremely imperative to our foundation of love and creation and the last few years many so called Christian organisations are making a joke out of it. The main motivating factor to do missions or to proclaim the Word of God needs to be love. This love in-comprehends the respect to others, also other believers. But those who want to proclaim the Word of God do also have to live according this Word of God. They should be an example for all people, believers and non-believers. They also should be honest to all people, believers and non-believers. It can not be that they would fool their own believers and do wrong to their own congregation. But this is what we have seen happening the last few years with the Roman Catholic Church and by the Jehovah Witnesses.

Energy, time and money spend

The apostle Paul may perhaps have written that he suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, but that does not mean that the church or organisation should take as much as they can from their followers because they should count it as of no value and have to consider any worldly material as rubbish.

Photos by Patrick Dove/Standard-TimesSan Angelo members of the Jehovah's Witnesses faith walk into a new Kingdom Hall built on Pullium Street across from the Shannon Health System's St. John's Campus. The new building can hold both English- and Spanish-speaking services at the same time.

San Angelo members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses faith walk into a new Kingdom Hall built on Pullium Street across from the Shannon Health System’s St. John’s Campus. The new building can hold both English- and Spanish-speaking services at the same time. – Photo by Patrick Dove/Standard-Times

For years the people who followed the Watchtower Society gave all of their best to the Society with the idea they where giving everything for the Work of God. And yes it is good that we can give to the work of God, and we should do that. But when we give our time and money to an organisation to do the work of God, they have to value it and make good use of it. Lots of Jehovah Witnesses have been motivated by love, when they did their preaching work. From door to door they went and offered leaflets and Watchtower brochures to the people to whom they could talk to. Several did it for many years without regretting the work they do or did. Others you can see at their faces  or at their customary uniform clothing that they are not so interested any more and that it has become a burden. With other organisations mostly the people quit if things get tough, but we must say that those Jehovah Witnesses, no matter what happens, continue in their ardent task of telling others about the end times.

A heart for work

The church is the tool God uses to push his good news into every hidden corner of the planet to shine his glorious light and God uses many people all over the world to do His job on earth. those who can do such work in love of the Almighty should be pleased to do it. Organisations who can have enough people willing to join the work should be glad and thank God for them.

“Do You Have ‘a Heart for Working’?” has been asked worldwide at the three-day conventions of the Jehovah Witnesses.

Nehemiah made many sacrifices to see that the walls in Jerusalem were rebuilt and the gates remade so as to give God’s restored people a secure future. There is an article regularly featured in the Watchtower magazine entitled “Learn from God’s Word.” It helps others and the faithful to deepen their knowledge of God, His Will and purpose.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, (Colossians 3:23) is written in the Holy Scriptures, so many Christians do their work for their church heartily as though they were doing it for the Lord and not merely for people. So the work should be done not by mere force and necessity, grudgingly, and with murmurings, but from the heart, and with good will, having a true, real, and hearty affection for their masters, having their good and interest at heart, and a delight in their service; like the Hebrew servant, that loved his master, as also his wife and children, and therefore would not depart from him, see Exodus 21:5.

Christian empires

As such many people also devote their time for their organisation to build up a congregation. Over the years the Watch Tower Society could build up, like the Roman Catholic Church did in previous centuries, a great empire. They managed to buy lots of grounds and buildings. All over the world the organisation did find enthusiast hands who could construct in a few days time a new Kingdom Hall. Often they are able to build a Kingdom Hall in less than three weeks, thanks to hundreds of volunteers who descended on the work site as part of the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Regional Building Committee. People come from all parts of the country, working with members of the local congregations. It is great to see them at work and to see them so organised. People that have registered with the Regional Building Committee are put into a database according to what department they would work in. Like roofing, concrete, trimming, painting, the kitchen, electrical, plumbing, bricklaying, welding, everything is notated, registered and taken care off by volunteers. to clear such huge projects in such a short time it would cost a lot of money.  Here for those projects it are all the people of the congregation and others who voluntary give money and time to the organisation so that it may grow. and it has grown enormously.

Assets

Strangely enough, the organisation pretends now that it has not enough assets to help out on those in affliction because certain things went wrong at certain of their congregations.

For more than 70 years, the Watch Tower Society has prided itself on its clean legal record, although this has now collapsed in dramatic fashion after a jury at the Alameda County Superior Court found Jehovah’s Witnesses legally responsible for the sexual abuse of Candace Conti, who suffered repeated molestation at the hands of a member of her congregation when only nine years old. Candace Conti, now 26 and living in Stockton, is one of the rare courageous girls who dared to take legal action against the organisation. As in many other cases the congregation and the Watchtower Society concealed the important information from her parents. In showing such shocking negligence, a jury has found that the Fremont elders were acting under the Watch Tower Society’s instructions. The elders failed to report these incidents to the authorities, or warn parents in the congregation.

The Watch Tower Society has therefore been held to account for the abuse suffered by Candace, and has been ordered to pay millions of dollars both in compensation and punitive damages. Compensatory damages of $7 million have been awarded, of which the Society must pay 40%. A further $21 million is due to be paid by the Society in punitive damages. On its official website, the Society has announced it will appeal this decision. It is feared that such an appeal will potentially drag the case out over a considerable period.

Attitude taken

Worse is also the attitude the organisation further takes.

Like in the Roman Catholic Church the than still Cardinal Ratzinger in 2001 issued a secret Vatican edict to Catholic bishops all over the world, instructing them to put the Church’s interests ahead of child safety the Watchtower Society have seem to have like to do the same way, not loving God’s people but loving more the organisation structure and income.

In a remarkable twist, on June 20th Judge Robert D. McGuinnes ruled that the real estate assets of the Watch Tower Society were to be effectively frozen pending the outcome of the Society’s appeal against the judgement. This would mean that, for a considerable period, the Watch Tower Society would be powerless to buy, sell or exchange property without first seeking the permission of the court in Alameda. It is estimated that the total value of the Watch Tower Society’s remaining Brooklyn property portfolio alone is a staggering 1 Billion dollars.

The Watch Tower Society has been ordered to pay millions in damages for their part in the abuse suffered by Candace Conti (pictured) – Photo jwsurvey.org

Now the Society appears to be pleading poverty, indicating that it cannot afford to produce the required $17.3 million dollars by way of surety without using property instead of cash. Amazingly, the Society is prepared to put their Patterson complex (The Watchtower Educational Center) on the line over this judgement, offering it as surety rather than starting the payments. However, this remarkable proposal has been blocked by Candace’s legal team. They understandably want cash to be paid as surety, not shaky property assets during times of economic uncertainty.

The Society has described the payment of $17.3 million in damages along with the premium as something that would cause them “immediate irreparable harm and hardship”.

It is normal that such a huge sum is going to do a certain damage, but trying to get rid of the fine is not an attitude which we would like to see from an organisation who, at first got all the money from its members, and secondly has done grave mistakes. Weekly lots of magazines and other publications or distributed worldwide. For the printed work they receive cash money which is partly also transferred to the headquarters. They should bear the consequences of their acts, like they so often tell others to do, and should bear the fine.

Meltdown

We totally agree with the Jehovah Witness Cedars who writes on his blog Jehovah’s Witnesses Survey:  “Many Witnesses will no doubt be shocked to hear that the organization, said to be enjoying Jehovah’s blessing, is in such a perilous predicament that it is seemingly only $17.3 million dollars away from meltdown! They will be just as amazed to learn that the Society is seeking to effectively put Patterson on the gambling table, to be given to Candace Conti if Watchtower loses its appeal.”

The whole problem is that even ordinary members of the “anointed class” do not have a voice on decisions involving ways to go or legal and doctrinal matters, despite the Governing Body’s claim that it serves as a “representative” and “mouthpiece” to the “Faithful and Discreet Slave” anointed remnant and lots of money is involved in the structure of this worldwide organisation which has become very powerful at the cost of ‘poor’ believers.

We can wonder if it are really Jehovah Witnesses who dare to come out of one’s shell to take care that Jehovah’s name shall not be dragged through the mud by an all-powerful organisation which has become blinded by its worldly and economic power. In case those whistle-blowers are really Jehovah Witnesses, than we wish them lots of courage and appreciate it that they are trying to save all the good work that many Jehovah people have done by the years gone by. In such instance they probably shall have to play a more important  role to safeguard the name of the people who really love God and are spending so much time on the streets to get Jehovah been known all over the world.

The Watchtower Society shall have to show her real face and show the world if it would like to to save face over their doctrinal stance on child abuse, or for their very survival as a global organisation willing to keep the power over many persons worldwide!

Good reason to have cleansed the name of many preachers

In several countries elders have done things which are humanly and legally not right. Not to recognise such faults of those humans or even worse, to punish victims by humiliating them or by putting them out of the organisation is not respectful to those who have given their love and time to Jehovah and to the organisation they sincerely believe to be Jehovah’s Organisation. Many more people should have to see in the handling of these matters that it clearly shows that it is an organisation which may have the luck to receive a lot of God’s blessing, but that it is a human organisation like all the churches here on earth, and as such have humans ruling it who can do also faults like any other human being.

It can happen that people do something wrong. Not one person is without sin. So people should recognise that also in the organisation of the Jehovah Witnesses there can be people who do serious sins. what surprises us is that the people in charge of the organisation prefer covering up certain sins of elders, while the ordinary people are easier expelled and punished in a way that they even cannot have contact with family members any more.

The value and sincerity of the preaching is also pulled down. The action of the Board of Directors makes that outsiders who hear the news in the media are going to shit on the Jehovah people even more. The preaching wich is necessary shall be done a lot of damage, because the faithfulness or fidelity of the followers of the Watchtower and Tract Society shall not be appreciated by the general public.

The world needs a lot of preachers to proclaim the Word of God. The Jehovah Witnesses may have been the most known preachers who dare to tell others the Name of the God of gods. Hopefully those who leave the organisation on matters of the above mistrust shall stay convinced that Jehovah is the Only One God they should go for, and that we have to let the world to get to know His son Jesus and have to look for his return. That they shall stay clear and eager to tell the world the Truth.

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Please do read:

  1. A discussion of theology among friends What’s up with this???
  2. Jehovah’s Witnesses convention kicks off on high note
  3. It takes a village to build a kingdom
    Several years ago, the four congregations of the Jehovah’s Witnesses cq in San Angelo had a dream of building a new Kingdom Hall.
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    The spacious, 8,900-square-foot brick building has matching auditoriums with plenty of room for worshippers. There’s also a library, conference room, literature room, restrooms and other support rooms.
  4. The Girl Who Took On The Watchtower – Candace Conti Speaks Out
  5. The Watchtower Punished: Society loses legal battle over child abuse case
  6. Patterson on the line: Watchtower claims that paying cash bond would cause “immediate irreparable harm and hardship”
  7. “We will decide who is a predator!” – New Watchtower Instructions to Elders on Child Abuse
  8. Manifests for believers #1 Sex abuse setting fire to the powder
    In the 50s and 60s of the previous century many acolytes and young boys became confronted with not such a nice site of human nature and his urge to have physical contact. Growing older and not having been able to cope with the old trauma some got up from their quit seat and started to tell tales out of school.
  9. Manifests for believers #2 Changing celibacy requirement
    For decades, the problem of paedophilia has been badly managed within the church and now that everything comes out of the cesspool this brought the church in discredit and got even more people leaving their church and their faith. Some wonder if you can you blame Catholics for leaving the faith when these types of attitudes run rampant in the church?  The problem becomes bigger when they do take it that “the Church” is bad and that they should not go to any church or return to the Catholic Church because they get the impression that nothing is being done to prevent abuse from happening.  It certainly doesn’t seem that the Catholic church has a screening process that will eliminate paedophiles and child molesters.
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    With all the tribulations and sex scandals many have lost their faith. Many do claim God for what happens in the world, but then they forget that at the beginning of the world-existence God had given men liberty to go his own way.
  10. Manifests for believers #3 Catholic versus Protestant
    The sex-scandals in the Roman Catholic Church did already too much damage. The clergy as well as the believers needed the commotion like they needed a hole in the head. They want to adhere to the Catholic teachings but would prefer to go back to the first century church. They do think they have enough teachings provided in the Holy Bible so that men do not need to bind others to man made teachings or to restrict others by their own teachings.  They just wanted to go back to the teachings which were already part of the church life in early centuries. They also found that the church had to put away certain teachings which where brought into existence for all sorts of reasons, of which some were financial (as protecting the church property).
  11. Roman Catholic Church at war
  12. Breathing to teach
  13. Representatives of the “Slave Class” or the Real “faithful and discreet slave”
  14. Breathing and growing with no heir
    Some may think we aren’t called to just preach. Jesus has given the major task to his followers to go out in the world and to let the Good News be known wherever they go. We also as followers of Christ Jesus should let others know that marvellous Good News.We have marvellous tools which brings us very easily much further than the doorstep.
    Jehovah Witnesses for a long time took it for granted it was the best way to reach people by bothering them at any moment of the day, ringing the bell and talking to them at the doorstep. But it seems that they today, also have found the modern means of the computer and internet. On the internet they now seem to have opened up and present more literature to the general public. Which is nice, because they also have very good literature, which can bring many more people to God.

    But, we should not let them do all the work, and let them get people in their Kingdom hall, while we have other thoughts of which we are sure they are also valuable for the people and leaving them more free. We should get others to know that there are other places of worship where honest God loving people can come together as a congregation.They may offer over there Theocratic Ministry School with a common global curriculum and nest to the weekly services with Watchtower-study they also may offer Pioneer Service School for full-time preachers, and the Kingdom Ministry School for elders and ministerial servants. The Kingdom Hall of the Jehovah Witnesses should be known as the only sort of kingdom hall the world offers good Bible teaching and worship to the One and Only God.

    We should be more conscious that we also have a lot to offer to the unbelievers and those looking for the Truth. We Can offer the Truth, but than we may not stay in our little cocoon of our armchair at home. We should get off our ass and do something.

    It is more than high time that more people would come out of their house and take up the task Jesus has given them.

  15. Which back voters in the US wants to see
  16. Mormons, just an other faith

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  • Cult or True Religion (wordsonsergebenhayon.wordpress.com)
    “…if you believe in it, it is a religion or perhaps ‘the’ religion; and if you do not care one way or another about it, it is a sect; but if you fear and hate it, it is a cult.” Leo Pfeffer.
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    Call someone a name and you don’t have to refute their argument – it makes it easy to toss it aside as the workings of a potentially crazed mind rather than something that may be of value, truth and substance.Why are there two separate words in the English language – cult and religion – that are understood by most to refer to two separate things. Calling new religions ‘cults’ is a very clever scare tactic used by the older religions in order to protect their market share. Christianity sees other religions that do not follow its version of doctrine as cults… so that makes all Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, followers of Islam plus all other religions, and thus a very large proportion of the population, cult members on those grounds.
  • Billy Graham: Mormonism No Cult (orthodoxyandheterodoxy.org)
    it seems that Mormonism is no longer a “cult”
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    now even the walking-Evangelical-saint Billy Graham has sacrificed doctrine for politics, that his desire for a Republican in the White House has transcended his commitment to the distinctives of his Southern Baptist religious faith.
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    The Graham definition above—”any group which teaches doctrines or beliefs that deviate from the biblical message of the Christian faith”—is similarly problematic. How would this definition include Jehovah’s Witnesses but not Roman Catholics? How would it include Unitarian Universalists but not Mormons? Isn’t it true that all of these groups (and many more) would deviate from most Evangelicals’ understanding of “the biblical message of the Christian faith”?
  • Defining Christianity (reneland.wordpress.com)
    I recently had a very good friend of mine who is Catholic and went to a Catholic school until the 9th grade say to me that she wasn’t a Christian, she was a Catholic. She said that the nuns told her she wasn’t Christian.
  • Jehovah’s Witnesses (calltoprayerministries.wordpress.com) {the writer of this article does not seem to see what it really means to be a ‘Christian’ and wants to take hold only on a sort-sighted vision.}
    Jehovah’s Witnesses come up in conversation more times than one might think. I guess that it’s because there are many people who know JW’s and there don’t seem to be many obvious differences between their faith and ours. Many JW’s are nice people, talk about Jesus, share their faith, and care about their families… just like Christians. So what are the differences? Are they just a different kind of Christian?
  • ‘Mormonism’ Taken off Site’s Cult List (abcnews.go.com)
    The prominent Christian evangelist Billy Graham has taken public steps to embrace Mitt Romney for president this week, removing Romney’s Mormon religion from a list of cults on his website and taking out an advertisement that appears to urge people to vote for Romney.
  • Billy Graham Offers To Help Mormon Mitt Romney And Then Removes Section From Website Calling Mormonism A Cult! (soulrefuge.org)
    The scriptures make it very clear that true believers in Jesus Christ should not be “yoked” together with unbelievers. Why would any true Christian want to help and support a Mormon who teaches that Jesus Christ is the spirit brother of Lucifer?
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  • Billy Graham Risks His “Legacy” By Scrubbing His Website Of Mormonism Cult Reference, But He Also Changed His Views About The Cult Of Rome Over 50 Years Ago (soulrefuge.org)
  • Grahams tighten Romney ties (newsobserver.com)
  • Mormons off Graham’s ‘cult’ list (upi.com)

The blot not to be seen

In a discussion, which was not to be intended to bring the name up of an ex member of the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses from 20 October 1971 until 22 May 1980, we notice that the Organisation of the Jehovah Witnesses likes to do if nothing happened way back in the seventies.

For Raymond Victor Franz (May 8, 1922 – June 2, 2010) the seventies became exuberant very promising but also very disappointing. Being the son of a Bible Student he found an other way and joined the group in 1938 which was to become known as the Jehovah Witnesses. , He became a baptized member in 1939 after which he took more time to study the Bible and to grow in to the believes of the Jehovah Witnesses. To get more insight he went to the missionary school of Jehovah’s Witnesses, typically referred to simply as Gilead or Gilead School, founded in 1942by Nathan H. Knorr. After five months he graduated in 1944. Temporarily he served the organization as a traveling representative in the continental U.S. until receiving a missionary assignment to Puerto Rico in 1946. In 1959 he married his wife with whom he continued his missionary work in the Caribbean, traveling to the Virgin Islands and the Dominican Republic, to evangelize for four more years before taking up work at Watch Tower headquarters inBrooklyn,the most populous of New York City‘s five boroughs.

Encouraged by his uncle Frederick W. Franz he put all his efforts to spread the news of the coming Kingdom and to help his brothers and sisters grow in the faith. Both Frederick and Ray joined forces to make a think-tank. Franz was encouraged to put his ideas in writing and got the opportunity to work in the organization’s writing department. He was assigned to collaboratively write Aid to Bible Understanding, the first religious encyclopedia published by Jehovah’s Witnesses in which he put a lot of energy.

English: crop of older photo ca 1981 of previo...

Ray Franz, early 1980s – English: crop of older photo ca 1981 of previous Jehovah’s Witnesses Governing Body members (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For him the climax of his career, if you may call it that, came on 20 October 1971 when he was appointed as a member of the Governing Body. But those 9 final years became a crucial period for the Bible Student. He had had so many dreams and wanted to do so much for the faith, but bit by bit his dreams felt into pieces. Illusions there met up with reality. He always had looked, like his father, for the truth. He thought he had found it in a very well structured organisation, while other members of his family had studied the Bible as individuals and not with such tight connections as he had. The freedom other family members had not being so organised, made him see that the organisation he was with used its structure to tighten rules and regulations and to be more a chain to the Bible Students.  He could see more and more limitations to brethren in the congregation. His eyes were surprised to find that at the top they were not afraid to be quite about certain things are to have no objections for a “little lie for the good”. He found deliberate, contrived and dishonest sayings and actions of which he could not agree with. Looking at all the going ons he began to realize how large a measure of what he had based his entire adult life. To him it came as a certain shock and first he wanted to disbelief.  Though there was no way around, he had to face the trap in which he was fallen and saw the myth — persistent, persuasive and unrealistic.

At first in unbelief, then doubts, he contacted more brothers and sisters to talk about his findings. This got him in the first problems, having people who he thought were his friends, taking distance or ignoring him. Other reacted strongly at him, trying to get him back on track at all costs. It became more difficult to talk about differences of opinion  with the Governing Body or with others in the community. More and more Ray and Cynthia seemed to become isolated and became very frustrated on their isolated island. The Governing Body’s dogmatism and overemphasis on traditional views rather than reliance on the Bible in reaching doctrinal decisions was a thorn in his flesh. He knew life is not a bed of roses, but the way of thinking and the direction the Watchtower Society took could not be liked any more by Ray and his wife. Ray Franz started also going back to the sources of his father and got back into contact with several Bible Students, not associated with the Jehovah Witnesses.  As such the association of Free Christians (Vrije Christenen) in Belgium also got in contact with his family. Out of those contacts Ray his writings and letters to the Board of Governors where also published, in English and Dutch, in Belgium. But all the letters he wrote to other members of the Governing Body seemed to no avail. He also understood now why previously there had been some very good forces gone away from the organisation. But he also understood the organisation had wrongly put out some very sincere Bible Students.

Utterly disappointed and frustrated he decided, late 1979, to leave the international headquarters. Being depressed, health reasons seemed logic and acceptable to give leave of absence. They moved to Alabama, where he took up laboring work on a property owned by a fellow Witness.

Diagram Representing Organisational Structure ...

Diagram Representing Organisational Structure of Jehovah’s Witnesses (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A committee of the Governing Body raised concerns over the spreading of “wrong teachings” emanating from headquarters staff and began questioning headquarters staff on their beliefs. The previous discussions and correspondence between brethren about faith-matters, beliefs and worship, came under fire. Because they could find that Ray Franz had contradicted certain Watch Tower doctrines they considered it necessary to tell Ray that he had been implicated as an apostate. His claims that he was not the only one who questioned certain teachings of the Watch Tower Society that may have constituted apostasy, was taken ill.

After a questioning for three hours about his Bible viewpoints and commitment to Watch Tower doctrines, Franz agreed to a request to resign from the Governing Body and headquarters staff, on 21 May 1980. The Governing Body investigation resulted in the disfellowshipping of several other headquarters staff.

When Franz continued to socialize and eat with his employer in Alabama, he was summoned to a judicial hearing on 25 November and disfellowshipped for disobeying the edict.

Treated very badly by the Watchtower power structure, he took on writing about the case, after a number of Watchtower articles criticised the motives, character and conduct of former Witnesses who conscientiously disagreed with the organization. Ray claimed that many Jehovah’s Witnesses who choose to leave because they cannot “honestly agree with all the organization’s teachings or policies” are subsequently disfellowshipped, or formally expelled, and shunned as “apostates”. He wrote that he hoped his book might prompt Witnesses to consider the conscientious stand of defectors with a more open mind. He hoped that a discussion of deliberations and decisions of the Governing Body during his term would illustrate fundamental problems and serious issues within the organization: “They demonstrate the extremes to which ‘loyalty to an organization’ can lead, how it is that basically kind, well-intentioned persons can be led to make decisions and take actions that are both unkind and unjust, even cruel.” {Franz, Raymond (2004). Crisis of Conscience. Atlanta, Georgia: Commentary Press. pp. 37–40. ISBN 0-914675-23-0.}

File:Franzcrisis.jpg

Illustration of book cover Crisis of Conscience (1983) American edition

His Crisis of Conscience (1983) got a sequel by In Search of Christian Freedom (1991).

Former Witness James Penton, who included the book in the bibliography of his 1985 history of the Witness movement, described the book as “remarkably informative” and “thoroughly documented” and noted it was “written more in a tone of sadness than of anger”. {Penton, M. James (1985). Apocalypse Delayed: The Story of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. pp. 149, 401. ISBN 0-8020-7973-3.}

Frederick W. Franz was in 1992 found a fine example of faithfulness (Watchtower 1/1/92, Love for Jehovah Stimulates True Worship), “He served faithfully as a member of the Governing Body down till his death, on December 22, 1992, at the age of 99.” (Jehovah’s Witnesses, Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom; Jehovah’s Word Keeps Moving Speedily)

Upon the death of then president Nathan H. Knorr in 1977, he became the president of the Watch Tower Society. He served in that capacity until his death. In his lifetime, Brother Franz saw the number of Witnesses of Jehovah increase from a few thousand to some four and a half million. He enjoyed many privileges of service, including speaking at international conventions and visiting branches and missionary homes in many parts of the world. His life story appeared in the May 1, 1987, issue of The Watchtower. (Watchtower 3/15/93, Rewarded With “the Crown of Life)

When research was being done under the supervision of the Governing Body in preparation of the reference work Aid to Bible Understanding, attention was once more directed to the way in which the first-century Christian congregation was organized. A careful study was made of such Biblical terms as “older man,” “overseer,” and “minister.” Could the modern-day organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses conform more fully to the pattern that had been preserved in the Scriptures as a guide? (Jehovah’s Witnesses, Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom; Development of the Organization Structure)

Insight on the Scriptures includes much of what was formerly in the book Aid to Bible Understanding and a great deal more. In what respects is it different? Scores of sections have been revised and updated. There are also many new articles as well as added features in Insight on the Scriptures. (Watchtower 3/15/89, “Insight on the Scriptures”—A New Bible Encyclopedia)

Material from Aid to Bible Understanding seems to have found its way into Insight on the Scriptures, but no where anything is mentioned about one of the main inspiration persons behind the book: Ray Franz or Raymond Victor Franz. When we do mention the family Franz to Jehovah Witnesses they do not want to hear any bad word about the family Franz.

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    Many people over the years have asked me whether I truly was one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and some have even asked that I write about my adventures. First of all, yes, it is true. I was once a member of Jehovah’s Witnesses. I was “in the Truth” for about ten years. There’s a long story behind my joining, some of which I wrote about in Drop Kick Me Jesus, Through The Goalposts Of Life. If you want just the adventures, the fun stuff, skip to the Anecdotes section.
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    I recognised that my freedom to be myself, my very personality were being stripped away. According to the Society, and their interpretation of Ephesians 4:23-24, I needed to “strip away the old personality…and put on the new…”. Somehow, I felt that compliance with a “Watchtower clone” was removing my freedoms. After all, we were living in a changing age, and a different culture from that which prevailed when the Society was forming. Why did I have to have my hair cut just so and not have the freedom to wear a beard without it having an impact on my congregation life?
  • Jehovah’s Witnesses (calltoprayerministries.wordpress.com)
    Jehovah’s Witnesses come up in conversation more times than one might think. I guess that it’s because there are many people who know JW’s and there don’t seem to be many obvious differences between their faith and ours. Many JW’s are nice people, talk about Jesus, share their faith, and care about their families… just like Christians. So what are the differences? Are they just a different kind of Christian?
  • What to Tell Jehovah’s Witnesses (asserttrue.blogspot.com)
    Will you please tell us the answers to all our questions and if you will say sorry to us at all for what you have done to us kids? Also, we would like to meet with all of you elders on the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses so you can say sorry to all of us children one at a time.
  • Attorney claims sexually abused children ignored by Jehovah’s Witness church (lampandherald.wordpress.com)

Representatives of the “Slave Class” or the Real “faithful and discreet slave”

In the past when we spoke with Jehovah Witnesses they often had a double tongue on the “faithful and discreet slave” (FDS). To us it did not always seemed clear who they considered to be the “faithful and discreet slave”.

We understood that the Governing Body (GB) would be mostly presented as the humble “representatives” of the “Slave Class”, which comprised the 12,000 or more anointed remnant of Christians with a heavenly calling still on earth.

Despite claiming to be “representatives” of this group of people, suspicions were raised in the minds of many thinking Witnesses after reading articles such as the Questions From Readers of the August 15th 2011 Watchtower, where it was admitted that the Governing Body has no actual communication with memorial partakers (the “anointed”) and even feels that some of these ones may be mentally imbalanced. (see w11 8/15 p. 22) ???!!???

According to the New Light of the Witnesses “The Faithful and Discreet Slave” would be a small group of anointed brothers during Jesus’ presence serving at Watchtower Headquarters. Under Jesus guidance they would be directly involved in the preparing and dispensing of spiritual food. The individual members of the Governing Body would not be the Faithful and Discreet Slave but only acting as the Faithful and Discreet Slave when they are working as a collective body in making decisions regarding the dispensing of spiritual food.

At memorial services it were only the chosen members of the 144 000 who could be partakers of the symbols. Strangely enough those people who thought to be one of those 144 000 became considered as possible not so good by their head, not to say ‘insane’. Looking at the Questions From Readers article of the August 15th, 2011 Watchtower they had already suffered the indignity of being labelled as potentially “mentally or emotionally imbalanced”.

This “new light” stops short of expressly naming “the Governing Body” as the Faithful Slave – rather a “group” of anointed brothers serving at Watchtower headquarters, which can only be applied to the Governing Body in our present day. According to Cedars this distinction is significant, because it acknowledges that there was no Governing Body as we know it prior to 1971 – only the Watch Tower Society Board of Directors who, as I have explained in a previous article, were informally described as a “governing body” (lower case) only from 1944 onwards.

Since the death of Freddy Franz the Governing Body (and previous Presidents) have acted independently of the supposed FDS class and never acted as their representatives. Don Cameron in his book Captives of a Concept blows the supposed 1919 choosing by Christ myth apart.

Having told for so many years that  Russell and Rutherford have been the founders of their association, but finding that more people are noticing the big differences in their teaching and the present organisation their teaching, makes it understandable that they now would like to distance themselves from certain teachings of the 19° and early 20° century.

For the present board it is high time to distance themselves from the WTS eyebrow raising beginings and Russell’s quirky and for them embarrassing ideas and relegate him to place they keep people like George Storrs, Tyndale et al-people who were searching for the truth but had not yet been chosen by Jesus who according to them, came invisibly in 1918.

In case they have now the true anointed Faithful slave, it is strange that they still have connection with worldly organisations, NGO’s like the OSCE, which is also connected to the United Nations, while they ask their members not to have any connection with UN related organisations because they would be from the devil and be the coming eighth king.

In the Bible we do find that Jesus is the only one mediator between God and men, though the WTS always presented their FDS as a mediator for the thoughts and new light to be given to Gods People. Luckily there were more JW who saw how the WTS has presumptuously placed itself as mediator between Christ and his followers, uninvited by Christ to replace him as the mediator.

Several serious Bible students warned already for several years that the FDS had taken in the same position as the pope has in the Catholic Church. the organisation has be willing to have control over all those associated with them. Those who could not come to agreement with their ideas had to go. Often they were cast out with the consequence that families were asundered. The way to follow or way to go brought division they always repudiated. Several people who had given their full life felt used and found their life was waisted with this “mess of a religion”. Several people who where cast out found a few years later their ideas bck into the teachings under the new light, but they were never asked to return back to the community or where never restored.

John Fatty writes: “For the last few years, there has been MUCH discussion and debate on the sites regarding this subject. Many XJW’s have made the claim the GB has already taken this position by their ‘subtle’ comments. (Perhaps to soften up the field of understanding for the coming change) Only to be villified by debating JW’s for being so wrong. “They would NEVER take that position!.” Well, there are quite a few certain argueing JW’s that must feel abit humiliated right now. I wonder if this will cause them to awaken?”

It is also strange that nobody questioned that if Rutherford and his anointed associates were selected in 1919 on what scriptural basis it could be automatically assumed that their roles as the Faithful and Discreet Slave were transferable, or could be “inherited”, by successive generations of the Board of Directors of the Watch Tower Society – which, after all, is merely a legal entity?

We always would appreciate it when people could show us where the bible provides an example of how those appointed by God to be his representatives may pass their duties on to someone else in the event of their death without God’s clear and unambiguous approval. (Numbers 27:18-20) The idea of someone inheriting someone else’s position because they have died is clearly a fleshly concept rather than a spiritual one.

We do agree that in the Roman Catholic faith they consider that the power of a certain apostle goes over to other living people when they die. According to us the twelve apostles appointed by Christ, once these died off they were not replaced by successors. Matthias, who had shown great interest in Jesus and had followed him, was the only apostle “of the twelve” who wasn’t appointed directly by Jesus, but he was only appointed as a replacement of unfaithful Judas by the casting of lots.

“23 So they proposed two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. 24 Then they prayed, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen 25 to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs.” 26 Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles.” (Acts 1:23-26 NIV)

When the faithful apostle James died (as with the rest of the apostles) there is no record of any concern over whether a replacement should be appointed.

The JW Insightbook also lets the JW  know:

“Sometime during the ten days between Jesus’ ascension and the day of Pentecost it was viewed as necessary that another be selected to fill the vacancy left by Judas, not simply on the basis of his death but, rather, on the basis of his wicked defection, as the Scriptures quoted by Peter indicate. (Ac 1:15-22; Ps 69:25; 109:8; compare Re 3:11.) Thus, by contrast, when the faithful apostle James was put to death, there is no record of any concern to appoint anyone to succeed him in his position of apostle.—Ac 12:2.” – Insight On The Scriptures, Volume 1, Page 129

The Governing Body has long pointed to Christ’s apostles as a divinely approved model for their collective authority, but they have never once explained how Christ has any involvement in their individual appointment. They ask their members to believe that Christ directly chose Joseph Rutherford and his anointed associates as his modern-day “apostles”, or Faithful and Discreet Slave, in 1919 – but do not give any satisfactorily explanation, once Rutherford and his associates died, how the divinely appointed authority of these ones was conferred to successive generations of Watchtower leaders.

Now, the Society has effectively scrapped the idea of the Faithful and Discreet Slave as a “class”, and now insists that the office of the Faithful Slave was bestowed by Christ on the shoulders of Rutherford and his associates in 1919, and this office was somehow passed down to successive members of the Watch Tower Society Board of Directors until the Governing Body arrangement was introduced in 1971. Thereafter, they insist that this “succession” continued as Governing Body members died and were replaced until we arrive today at a situation where eight individuals, none of whom had even been born in 1919, are now Christ’s “Faithful and Discreet Slave”. Not only does this sound incredibly implausible – most significantly there is absolutely no scriptural precedent for things to be done by God in this manner whatsoever.

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Please do read:

Governing Body says: “We are the Faithful and Discreet Slave!”

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Find also:

Watchtowers’s new face

Slave for people and God

Servant of his Father

The Ecclesia in the churchsystem

Getuigen van Jehovah, Data en Waarheid

Getuige of Broeder

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  • Attorney claims sexually abused children ignored by Jehovah’s Witness church (lampandherald.wordpress.com)
    In a recent Facebook post, attorney Steven Unthank acknowledged the courage and sacrifices made by children of a congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Victoria, Australia where Unthank said that the children suffered sexual abuse at the hands of fellow church members.
  • Signal Communities…Invite People to Christ (heraldmagazine.wordpress.com)
    Every fiber of who we are in Christ exudes a living presence of who it is we say that we follow. Our lives tell the truth about what we believe.
    +
    It is Christ’s mission statement. As members of the body of Christ it is ours, as well. Not just the twelve, not just the seventy, but the whole of God’s people—anointed and Spirit-filled.
    {We would like to remind readers the Herald mentioned in this blog has nothing to do the Bible Students magazine The Herald or with the Christadelphian  magazine The Herald of the Kingdom of God.}
  • My Willing Spirit (peaceandbeauty.wordpress.com)
    Like Bruno, profiled in the July 15 Watchtower as one of those who offered themselves willingly in Ecuador, I want my service to Jehovah to be not dull, but filled with a variety of activities in service to him.
  • According To Your Faith Be It Unto You (bummyla.wordpress.com)
    {We do have to be careful not to be blinded by organisations, and should follow Jesus in the first place not human institutions.}
    The blind men and the people who heard them crying understood that Jesus was anointed, that He had God’s power on Him. They also understood that He was the Son of God. Yet, Jesus did not lay hands on them and say, “I know you’re healed, because I touched you and I’m anointed.”
  • I learned a lot yesterday! (cwrede.wordpress.com)
    Never try to claim something as your own, because only by his grace can we accomplish anything. He gives us just enough for our purpose
  • ‘Unworthy slaves’: Listen to Jesus and do what he says (markkelly.wordpress.com)
    “Unworthy slaves”? You won’t hear this passage preached in feel-good churches and Prosperity Gospel circles. Our consumer culture cultivates a sense of entitlement in us: “You deserve a break today!” “Obey your thirst!” The government seeks to expand its influence by growing the rolls of citizens receiving federal “entitlements.” The economy tanks, jobs disappear, and a disgruntled man-boy digs out his tent and heads for the nearest Occupy encampment. A teachers’ union, whose members make 50% more than the average worker in their city, goes on strike because a school system mired in debt only offers a 16% pay increase.
    +
    Listen to Jesus and do what he says.And here’s a great place to start.

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